Thomas King’s Royal Bakery
NO MORE: The bakery oven in Remuera, believed to date back to the turn of last century, before it was knocked down.
An oven, believed to be one of the oldest significant commercial remains in Remuera, has been demolished. It is believed the oven was built at the turn of last century and was the oven for Remuera’s early bakery, says Remuera Heritage Society chairman Terry Sutcliffe.
It was behind a two storey building on the east corner of Remuera and Armadale roads and was knocked down at the end of last year. Mr Sutcliffe says the historic and distinctive two-storey building on the corner originally had Thomas King’s Bakery and Confectionery as one of its retail tenants. Behind King’s retail shop was the bakehouse and oven. The bakehouse was demolished about 25 years ago, but the oven remained. The oven had a brass maker’s plaque on its cast iron door, stating: “Masefield & Co, Makers, Auckland”.
Mr Sutcliffe says among the broken shards and debris at the site a number of items have been found. “These give a very exciting window into the early bakery and business.” Included in the find is a glass lid off a confectionery jar, three glass pieces from counter-display equipment and harness equipment, a double-jointed brass bit and a brass slide inscribed “W. Morgan, Maker, Newmarket”. There was also a brass padlock and small glass bottles used for essences. Mr Sutcliffe says the brass slide is a very important item for the area, because Morgan was a saddle and harness maker in Newmarket in the 1860s. “These items take us back to the very early days of rural Remuera,” he says.
Thomas King’s bakery history is sketchy, but early records show it was operating in 1915. It is later recorded also as a confectionery. “There are stories of the children from Remuera Primary School passing by the bakehouse on the way home and obtaining some of the broken biscuit pieces, or other rejected baked items.” The bakery was also owned by Irvines Bakery, who in 1929 “took over an empty shop and separate, tiny bakery in Armadale Rd and began to bake and deliver bread”. “This slice of early Remuera’s history will be missed,” Mr Sutcliffe says. If anyone has information, stories or photographs relating to this site, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 523-3883. The Remuera Heritage Society is having a talk tonight on the archaeological excavation of Chinese market gardens at Carlaw Park. It is being held at 6.30pm at the Remuera Community Library. – East And Bays Courier.